Breathtaking gorges and rugged coastal cliffs lure hiking and nature enthusiasts, and provide unique experiences for the adventurous and casual sightseer alike.
Less than two hours’ drive north of Geraldton sits Kalbarri, a little town surrounded by a stunningly beautiful national park. Boasting one of the world’s best wildflower seasons – spanning an astounding five months – the spectacular display of nature attracts visitors from all over the world.
As you approach Kalbarri, you’ll catch sight of the magnificently rugged coastal cliffs and the 400 million-year-old gorges of the National Park. Hop out at the viewing platforms and marvel at the dramatic drops and contrasting colours of burnt orange rock formations against the sapphire ocean. This is definitely a great photo opportunity. Keep an eye out for humpback whales on their annual migration.
Blessed with gorgeous summers, mild winters, and white-sand beaches, Kalbarri is the ultimate oceanside playground. Surfers come from far and wide to catch the left at Jake’s Point. There are tours and safaris for everything from flying over the Abrolhos Islands to sandboarding, abseiling and quad biking.
Why not put Kalbarri on the calendar for your next big fishing adventure, and book a deep-sea charter? The catches are world class. On quieter days, you can kayak on the Murchison River, or walk along breathtaking coastal trails, stopping at the bays to cool off before setting sail to enjoy a sunset cruise.
Kalbarri has a range of accommodation available, from camping and caravan parks to B&Bs, motels and resort hotels.
Things to do & see
1. Visit the iconic Nature’s Window, or hike the Four Ways Trail.
2. Walk the award-winning clifftop boardwalk at Natural Bridge.
3. Cool off in the clear, blue waters of Chinaman’s Beach.
4. Marvel at the 400 million-year-old Eurypterid tracks at Z-Bend.
5. Watch sunset over Pot Alley Gorge, for an amazing contrast of colour.
Meet a prince
You may be asked for a passport before you enter the Principality of Hutt River in Kalbarri National Park. There’s government conjecture, but Hutt River is said to be the oldest micro-nation in Australia, made an Independent Sovereign State in 1970. Prince Leonard or, in his absence, another royal will greet you when you arrive, before you continue on a tour of the Principality’s buildings.
Hike along the Kalbarri coast
The best way to see Kalbarri’s stunning coastal gorges and cliffs is to hike along the 8km-long Bigurda Trail in the 183,000ha Kalbarri National Park. The trail starts at Eagle Gorge and ends at Natural Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled for whales (June to November) and wildflowers (July to September). The trail takes three to five hours, one way – arrange to be dropped off and picked up at the end.
Tip: Can’t get enough of the canyons? Join a canyoning and abseiling tour.
Wander through the wildflowers
Wildflower enthusiasts will delight in seeing a wealth of species, some of which aren’t found anywhere else on the planet. From delicate and ornate orchids to fields of vibrant everlastings, there are flowers as far as the eye can see. Remember that spring comes early up north, so the optimum time to visit is August.
Hutt Lagoon, at the quaint fishing village of Port Gregory, is known as Pink Lake due to its vibrant colour. The presence of Dunaliella salina, (acarotenoid-producing algae, and source of beta carotene) is responsible for the incredible hue of this 14km-long salt lake.
Relax by the rock pools and watch the sunset at Red Bluff. Or visit Ross Graham Lookout, a spectacular part of the park. Don’t forget your hat, water and camera
Head down to the Kalbarri foreshore (near the Grey and Wood streets intersection) for breakfast with the cheeky local pelicans. Be there by 8.45am to watch the birds compete for a fishy treat.
Eat & drink
Keeping in mind Kalbarri offers great fishing, why not catch your own dinner, or taste freshly caught fish from the town’s many eateries? There are local cafes and grocery stores in town where you can grab a quick bite to eat, or stock up with picnic essentials.